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But beside my non-existent teen love life, the book had a larger impact that as an adult, I’m only now coming to grips with—damaging expectations of myself, men, and sexuality—beliefs that have cost me love, friendship, and given me a life of shame.

(IKDG) about four years later near the end of middle school.

The approach Harris offered was a way forward that bypassed the physical possibilities.

I remember seeing the cover, and thinking how cool it looked, tipped fedora and all.

The sepia tone seemed romantic, and maybe, when you’re an awkward, depressed teen, that’s all you need to convince you of purity culture: it seems romantic.

As a teen and young adult I knew some of the basic concepts of the book: you shouldn’t get involved with too many people because that means you’re cheating on your future spouse.

I first read IKDG when I was 15 and it didn’t feel right, but I didn’t have the words to put to that feeling.

It’s fostered the sort of shame that follows me into my relationship now, and it makes me angry at how dating or relationships without marriage as a pre-determined point, let alone sex or any kind of physical affection, were robbed of any joy for me.

It’s like a low level noise of distrust and anxiety that some would probably call the conviction of the Holy Spirit.

I would never have known Josh Harris’s name were it not for this book and his elevation based on it.

Even though I didn’t see myself as his primary audience, I and others like me reaped the consequences of his work. I was always an avid book reader and since I took my evangelical faith so seriously, I wanted to learn all I could about dating.

Here was this young guy, only 21, preaching chastity, virtue and not kissing until you got married.

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